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Ultimately happy

March 13, 2007|by DARCY SHULL

What would you think if your incredibly wealthy grandfather died, left your family nothing and left you nothing but a video that gives you a sequence of seemingly impossible tasks to do? I think I would be pretty mad if it happened to me.

But that's the story in the movie "The Ultimate Gift," released Friday. Jason Stevens expects to receive a huge inheritance when his grandfather dies, but instead receives a series of what his grandfather calls "gifts" - tasks for Jason to complete in order to receive the "ultimate gift" at the end.

Jason is bratty and immature and opposed to doing any kind of work for his gift, but his curiosity is piqued when his grandpa's friend points out that Jason will never know what the ultimate gift is if he doesn't try. So, Jason decides to tackle the jobs, although he's still not very enthusiastic.

As he completes his tasks, he meets a little girl named Emily, who has a sharp tongue, a terrible disease and amazing charisma. He quickly becomes friends with her and her young mother. Jason soon discovers, as time goes on, that some things are worth more than money, and that the qualities he has gained are so much more important.

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I loved this film. It was a little less than two hours long, but it didn't drag. The acting was phenomenal, and I especially liked Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") as Emily.

The only thing I disliked was one part of the movie that didn't seem to flow with the rest of it.

"The Ultimate Gift" was a brilliant but heartbreaking movie. I would recommend it to anyone who likes sad, moving films.

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